“O LORD, God of my salvation; I cry out day and night before you.” The writer from the sons of Korah was in a very low condition. “My soul is full of troubles.” He suspected that death could not be far away. In his despair he could not see anything beyond the grave.
Yet he had enough faith in the Almighty to cry out to God personally. “You have put me in the depths of the pit.” He was near death, but not as the result of impersonal forces of disease or treachery. He knew that God was sovereign over all and that the Lord was angry with him. “Your wrath lies heavy upon me.”
The psalmist expressed his sense of extreme abandonment and attributed this also to the hand of God. He was trapped, and his lonely life was slipping away. Yet he continued to call out to the Lord for deliverance night and day. He could not approach death with peace. The only life that he knew would soon be gone.
Almost every psalm in the Bible ends with some note of hope, but not Psalm 88. The psalmist’s words complete the full range of human emotion by providing us with this example of a man who cried out to God at his very lowest moment. He was like a Jeremiah or a Paul who despaired of life itself and was utterly at the end of his strength. The only sign of spiritual life remaining in him was the simple fact that he was still addressing the Almighty.
Yet the psalmist’s last cry to God in despair was a word of enduring faith. Like the Messiah on the cross, He called out to God when all was lost. In the words of Psalm 88, “O Lord, why do You cast my soul away? Why do You hide your face from me?”
All was not lost. Out of the final wounds of our Redeemer came the greatest and most powerful hope that humanity has ever known. Because of Him, there is a future even for those who have nothing left. As we learn from the resurrection, when Jesus cried out to His Father, “He was heard.” (Hebrews 5:7) From the darkest corner of a dying world, the Son of God has won for His people the glories of heaven.
Prayer from A Book of Prayers
Great God of Our Salvation, You hear Your children when they call upon Your Name. We cannot trust in our strength, for it is almost gone. We cannot trust in our companions, for they have rejected us. Make us to praise You in resurrection life. Those that lie in the grave cannot sing praises to You. We are helpless unless You speak life again into our mortal bodies.